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IDEO CEO joins furniture maker's board

December 21, 2016
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Tim Brown
Tim Brown. Courtesy Steelcase

A local furniture maker has appointed a design industry leader to its board.

Tim Brown, president and CEO of the global design firm IDEO, joined Steelcase's Board of Directors on Tuesday.

His term on the 11-member board will end at Steelcase’s next shareholder meeting in July, as all of the company’s directors “are elected by shareholders annually.”

Grand Rapids-based Steelcase and IDEO have collaborated for more than 25 years.

Steelcase said Brown brings a “new perspective” to the board, thanks to his various experiences, which include work as an industrial designer, business leader, philanthropist and author.

Robert C. Pew III, chair of the Steelcase board, said Brown is "an important advocate for design thinking and the convergence of technology and design.”

“He’s been a great resource for Steelcase through the years, and we’re eager to have his presence on the board to help guide the future of our business,” Pew said.

Brown’s background

Brown has served in senior leadership roles at IDEO since 1987.

He has received a number of design awards and showcased his work at top institutions, including the Axis Gallery in Tokyo, Design Museum in London and Museum of Modern Art in New York.

He is a board member for and serves on the Mayo Innovation Advisory Council and the Advisory Council of Acumen Fund.

A frequent speaker, Brown has appeared at TED, as well as the World Economic Forum, where he chairs the Global Agenda Council on the Creative Economy.

He has written for numerous publications, including Harvard Business Review and The Economist.

He also published “Change by Design,” a book on how design thinking transforms organizations, through HarperBusiness.

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